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The home for VPR's coverage of health and health industry issues affecting the state of Vermont.

AG Announces Settlement With Nursing Homes Over Alleged Neglect

A man at a podium and several people standing behind him.
Liam Elder-Connors
Attorney General TJ Donovan announces a settlement Thursday with Genesis Healthcare, a company that owns several nursing homes in Vermont. Under the settlement, the company agreed to more oversight from the state and to pay $740,000 in fines.

A national company operating several nursing homes in Vermont will pay more than $700,000 in fines and have more oversight under a settlement agreement with the state.

According to the Vermont Attorney General’s office, inadequate staffing at three facilities owned by Genesis Healthcare led to three serious injuries and a death.

The incidents took place at Burlington Health and Rehab, St. Johnsbury Health and Rehab and Berlin Health and Rehab. The state began looking into allegations of neglect at the facilities in 2018 and completed its investigation in 2019.

The settlement details how in two instances at two different facilities, staff gave residents the wrong food. In both instances, the residents choked, causing one to be hospitalized and the other to die.

In another case, the facility discharged a resident who was unable to care for himself and within a day of his discharge, the resident was hospitalized for a serious sepsis infection. In the fourth case, staff members found two ulcers on the leg of a resident but didn’t perform any follow-up assessments, leading to the resident requiring emergency hospitalization.

More from VPR: 'Worse For Care': When Elder Homes Stumble, Frail Vermonters Get Hurt[Nov. 27, 2019]

Genesis is one of the largest nursing home providers in the country with an annual revenue around $5 billion, according its annual report.

Under the settlement agreement, the company will create a patient care coordinator who will oversee the three facilities. A separate, independent monitor will annually review of the quality of care at the nursing homes.

“Both the monitor and patient care coordinator will serve for a minimum term of two years and have reporting duties to the state,” said Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan at a press conference Thursday.

Genesis will also pay $740,000 in fines, Donovan said.

“I think this is one of the larger if not the largest settlements," he said. "I think it's a good result, and I think only time will tell if we achieve the deterrent impact that we hope we do.”

Genesis owns nine nursing homes around Vermont, but the settlement only pertains to the three facilities cited by the state.

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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